Epistles of Faith
William Huntington (1745-1813)
TO THE REV. MR. HUNTINGTON.
I HAVE the happiness of acquainting you, that by your instrumentality God hath begotten me again to a lively hope: which, I trust, will lead me to the enjoyment of that inheritance which will never fade away. A father, and a son of consolation, thou hast been to me; for God hath administered divine comfort to my soul by your writings, which, under God, have brought me out of the deepest distress: therefore, with propriety, I may claim the above relation to you.
I have long desired to write to you, but could not get an opportunity: but being now at leisure, and having it in my power to send you a brace of the largest sort of geese that fly in our country, as a present, I hope to receive, when you are at leisure, a line or two from you, which will be esteemed an excellent present to me.
I have for some time been a member of a church at Cranbrook, the place of your nativity: but, alas! I have been zealously affected, but not well; nor did I ever know the truth as it is in Jesus till now. God hath wonderfully blessed the reading of your books to my soul; and hath applied to my heart, by his Spirit, the glorious mysteries that he hath committed to you; for which I shall have cause to praise him so long as I have any being. He hath given me clearly to see, and feel too, the war that is carried on between the flesh and the spirit: for, when I would do good, evil is present with me; but, blessed be God, grace is to reign, through righteousness to eternal life, by Jesus Christ.
But, O sir; how was I wounded, when a minister of this country, and one that would fain be called orthodox, told me that he had more respect for Mr. Wesley than he had for Mr. Huntington! This came close to me, seeing God had given such a blessed testimony to your writings, and had attended the reading of them with such power to my soul. I could not help telling him that it was natural for people to love their own relations; and I know there is a spiritual love that runs through the hearts of all God's spiritual family. Wesley's doctrine and yours are as much opposite as east and west: I have felt the rottenness of the former, and the stability of the latter.
On reading your "Naked Bow of God," my soul within me was fired with love to Jesus, to see such a wonderful display of divine judgments; which is a manifest proof of his abounding love to the faithful preachers of his word. Blessed be his name for the riches of his grace in choosing, calling, ordaining, and sending out, such a servant; by whom he has proclaimed liberty to many captives, bound up many broken bracts, and opened the prison doors to numbers bound with the cords of their sins. In all your works I find such a heavenly train of divine and experimental knowledge, and the Spirit of God so powerfully applies the same to my heart, that my very soul rejoices in God my Redeemer.
The "Innocent Game for Babes in Grace" hath been a sweet cordial to me: therein I clearly saw the second birth, which so few professors know any thing savingly of. But, before I conclude, I must tell you how your "Bond Child brought to the Test," sat with me, when I perceived that you had brought a minister into the mess to whom I was warmly attached. I was greatly distressed; nor did my distress leave me day or night till God had weaned my heart from him that had zealously affected me; and then, blessed be God, I found the reproofs of a friend to be better than the kisses of an enemy: and I bless the Almighty for your honest dealing; and return you thanks, sir, for your faithfulness.
I find, indeed, the good Spirit of God, like living water, springing up within me into everlasting life. My pen cannot express, neither will my paper hold, nor is it in my power to tell you, the Love that I feel in my soul to you and your God; for you have been the instrument, in the hand of the Almighty, of converting m from the error of my way.
Pardon this long scrawl. The farmer, W. G. and a few more of our little company, join in christian love to you. I shall be thankful to God for an answer, if it be but short: and conclude with a quotation from your works, "When it is well with thee, remember me." I hope the present will come safe.R. M.